Since November 2015, there have been 4000 cases of severe brain damage and deformity in Brazil, in babies born to mothers with the little-known Zika virus.
The condition can be fatal, and authorities in four countries that are currently experiencing a surge in Zika outbreaks have taken the extreme step of telling women to delay having babies for up to two years.
There have been a handful of cases in Australia, of people who contracted it overseas, and the mosquito that can carry the virus is only found in the far north of Queensland.
Here’s everything you need to know about the virus.
What is it?
Zika is in the same family of viruses as yellow fever, West Nile, chikungunya and dengue. There’s no vaccine, and no medicine to treat it. It first appeared in Africa in the 1940s and has been present in Africa and Asia for over 50 years.
The first outbreak in Brazil was in May 2015, and is thought to have spread rapidly because of a lack of natural immunity in the region.
How is it spread?
Zika is spread primarily by the Aedes mosquito, but in some cases can be spread through labour, blood transfusions, lab exposure and sexual contact.
Where is it?
Central and South America: Bolivia, Ecuador, Guyana, Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Suriname, Venezuela
Caribbean: Barbados, Saint Martin, Haiti, Martinique, Puerto Rico, Guadeloupe